Sunday, January 1, 2017

30 Day Get Chucked Challenge

A new year typically means resolutions, goals, challenges, whatever you may want to call it.  I have my list but, eh most of it can wait a few days...I'm still binging on Christmas candy!

Anyway, a friend mentioned how she was decluttering her home (always on my, check) and going minimalist (ummm...not for me) and that she heard of a challenge where you take one item out of your home the first day, two items the second day, three items the third day and so on.  Over the course of one month you will accumulate 465 things to get rid of.

Over 400 things...that sounds impossible.  How in the world can I get rid of over 400+ items without feeling deprived of vital items?!  What will my house look like?  Sure, one or two things will be easy but how in the heck will I find 20, 25, or 30 things to get rid of on those days?

I hopped on the computer (yes, I still use my computer) and read a few articles and blogs about how others started this challenge.  Not all of them have follow ups of their (hopeful) success but here, here, and here are two that I read and found enjoyable.

Now here is the kicker...I've got my entire family involved in on the act.  Between our house, office, and classroom, we will declutter for 30 days.  My husband and I will each do our own, our boys will combine their efforts for finding items, and the wee little baby is out...although her stuff will still count towards the overall goal.  In 30 days we will purge from our home at least 1,395 items.

Ground Rules for our #30DayGetChucked Challenge:
1.  It doesn't matter how big or small the item counts!
2.  Trash does not count if you are already planning on throwing it out.  (I had to put this rule down for the kids otherwise their items would include the empty chip bag from last night or the candy bar wrappers)  HOWEVER, if the item was originally kept to be reused or repurposed it does count (the broken pencil that I keep because "the eraser is still good!" or the empty paper towel rolls that would make "great art projects for the kids in the summer" except I have never used them. NEVER!
3.  It is up to the person how they want to count it.  My son thinks one pair of shoes should count as one item while my husband thinks it should be counted as two items.  Honestly, I don't mind at all!  It is getting out of the house one way or another.
4.  Recycle, donate, or sell before trashing something.  I hate filling our trash can full of things that could be recycled OR loved by others.  We will recycle anything that we can.  We will donate most of our items to the local Salvation Army, except children's items.  Our Salvation Army won't take them so we will pass those on to our Goodwill store.  Anything of high value will be sold at our local consignment sale and garage sale this spring.  (Yeah, some of you may think we are cheating the system by keeping our stuff in a tub in the attic to store to sell later, BUT we are working on paying off our debts and Dave Ramsey would tell us to sell, sell, sell so that we can pay off our car and save, save, save).

Let the challenge begin!  I'll post my items on Twitter (follow me @JuliePurin) to help keep me accountable.  Want to take the challenge with me?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Idahoan Signature Russetts Mashed Potatoes

I have a love/hate relationship with making dinner.  I used to love it, but it seems like the more kids that I pop out the less I enjoy making dinner.  There is always some reason or excuse.  I don't have the time to grocery shop.  It takes too much time to make dinner.  Nothing sounds good.  There are too many kid activities.  I'm lazy.  Really the last one is the most important one!

So, when I do actually make dinner I like short cuts.  We used to really enjoy the pre-packaged meals (before kids and before I learned how to really cook) that come in a box and you just add meat.  Ahhh...that was the life...the life before I knew how much crap was actually in those meals.  Well, fast forward to now.  I still like pre-packaged items (seasoning mixes/marinades, stuffing, rice, etc) so when Influenster sent me Idahoan Signature Russetts Mashed Potatoes (check them out here) I was game.

We use the dehydrated potato mixes already but this brand was new to me.  It had two methods of making it.  I thought surely one will be stove top and one will be microwave, but I was wrong.  They were both on the stove top.  The only difference was one included milk, water, and butter didn't.  We opted for the first choice.  

It didn't take much time to make at all and the consensus was pretty even across the family.  The potaotes were just OK.  The flavor was fine but the texture seemed to be a bit off.  We made it exactly as described on the package but I probably would have tossed some salt in the boiling water and added a bit more milk.  I can't imagine making these the second way..yech.

Was it easy?  YES.
Did it taste good?  Ehhh, it is what it is for what it is.
Will I purchase this again?  Hmmm...probably not.  If I'm going to go the dehydrated potato route I'll probably just stick with the brand that I have.

By the way, I received this product free from Influenster.  My opinion is my opinion :)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Star Wars Rhythms

So I don't post much, but with the school year starting tomorrow I thought I would at least share one thing that I'm excited about...Star Wars!  Ok, really my husband and kiddos are more excited about Star Wars than I am, but I decided to make it my classroom theme this year.  Really I chose it because I love BB-8 and R2-D2.

Anyway, four years ago a co-teacher and I came across this great rhythm picture.  (If you were the original inventor, please let me know so I can give you credit AND a big thank you because it was a hit with the high school students.)  For the most part they liked it, they actually liked it!

Fast forward two years later and I am no longer teaching high school but have moved to an elementary building.  I really wanted to use this but I didn't think they would have the same humor as my high school students and since they are still working on the basics of rhythm some of the pictures might be too hard for them.  

Thankfully someone else decided to take this idea a step further.  Insert food rhythms!  (Again, if you were the one who did this, let me know!)  This was great for my littler ones.  They were able to read the food names and find the rhythms that matched their own personal name.

So here were are a few days before school and I'm trying to think of a great activity to do the first day of school.  I keep coming back to the food rhythms and how much fun it was but now they already know what food they could I change it.  Star Wars!  Perfect!  I already have the bulletin board up and a few decorations.  Why not take it a step further and come up with some rhythms.  So with the help of my husband and boys we were able to come up with Star Wars Rhythms.  As my husband points out the inflection might not quite be 100% accurate (Chewbacca vs. Chew-bacca) but it is meant to be fun!


Here's hoping the students have as much fun finding their rhythms as I did.  By the way, it is a lot harder than it looks to fit in to each of the rhythms already provided!

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Year-in-Review

2015 Year-in-Review
This year flew by, at least the second half of the year.  January to May were the longest months EVER and August to December have just slipped by.  As January 1st is quickly approaching it is time to get nostalgic over the events that happened in 2015.  So, enjoy my 2015 Year-in-Review.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
This year Peter and I went to the Bahamas for our anniversary.  My in-laws were extremely generous in watching the boys while we took a cruise.  Delicious food, great ocean views, sticking our feet in the ocean, a bicycle tour through Key West were just a few highlights of our adventure. 

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't know if I actually made resolutions this year.  I tried to do 101 in a 1001 but they weren't really resolutions.  I'll update that though to see what I've crossed off that list.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
NOPE.  Not this least not yet.  My sister-in-law is about to pop!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No one.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The Chick-Fil-A incident of 2015.  Ugh, I won't go in to details but it was a tough time.  More worries from the neighbor about the cats.  Getting a new job and having Ezra in my school!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 Gosh, I don't know if I have a "big" achievement this year. 

9. What was your biggest failure?
Biggest failure?  Not losing as much weight as I had hoped.  20 pounds is a good start, but I'm ready to knock a lot more off.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just a few colds here and there but nothing truly bad or life altering.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
An organizer for my classroom!  Ok, I didn't buy it completely outright but a portion of it was funded by Sonic's Limeades for Learning and I covered the rest of it.  I can't wait to organize it all with the classroom instruments and have the kids see it when they get back from Christmas break!  Also, tickets to Broadway shows!

12. Where did most of your money go?
Student loans!  We did the envelope approach and paid off Peter's student loan.  Yay!  We still have mine but whew, what a nice thing to have off our shoulders.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Traveling!  We did a road trip to Florida for the cruise and got to see family members along the way as well as six new-to-me states.  I also went to NYC with my Mom to see some amazing shows!

14. What song will always remind you of 2014?
 The "Whip and Nae Nae" song.  I don't even know if that is how you spell it or if that is even the title of the song, but my students were OBSESSED with that song.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
--happier or sadder?  Happier
--thinner or fatter? A tad thinner, but just a tad.
--richer or poorer? I guess a little richer in that we have one loan paid off but still it is about the same

16. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Exercise, spend more time outside with my family, and sing.  I miss singing :(

17. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Spend countless hours on Facebook and spend countless hours in front of the TV.

18. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas at home.  We all slept in the living room and after everyone was awake we looked through our new stockings and opened presents.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
The Goldbergs, Heroes Reborn, Grey's Anatomy, The Middle.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I can't recall a single book that I read.  I know I read at least five, but I can't remember the titles.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
No idea!  There wasn't a particular one that I just couldn't get enough of.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
If I didn't say Star Wars Peter would probably disown me.  It was pretty good though.  Inside Out and Home were the top for the family.  Antman was pretty darn funny.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33 and I can't remember what I actually did for my birthday.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
That's a hard one.  Life is pretty good.  I have my basic needs covered.  My family is healthy.  I guess if I had to pick something, I would say having my student loan paid off would make the year more satisfying :)  We finished Peter's this year and mine will hopefully be done this next year.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Since I'm at a new school I can no longer wear jeans to school (except for Fridays...noooooo!).  It has been a challenge since I'm constantly on the floor with my students.  So, slacks and a blouse.  Easy to move around and sit on the floor.

26. What kept you sane?
Peter, Ezra, Henry, and TiVo.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
 Enjoy the little moments because they go by so fast.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Father's Day?

Let me preface with the point that I don't have a dad.  I have a father.  I had a dad for maybe two years of my life.  I'm not exactly sure if he was even a dad for that much of the time that my parents were together.  I have had a father for approximately 31 years of my life.  Of those 31 years I will say that I did get to see my father when I lived in the same town as him...well, I saw him for whatever the court appointed time was.  When my brother turned 18 and went to college, well, that was the end of the monthly visits.  When I went to college I do remember having my father make the drive to see me in a show and my senior recital.  After that, in the last ten years, was wedding, meeting first child, first child's first birthday, meeting second child, and then I scheduled a visit when we were driving through town.  With all of that in mind let me say that I love my father.  I do.  I wish I had a better relationship but it really just won't happen.  There isn't anything that will change that.  
(I also realize that others out there have much more difficult relationships...this is not a sob story contest becuase I know I would lose.  This is just a little history on me.)

So, Father's Day is tomorrow.  What does that mean?  Last minute shopping for gifts and elbowing one another in the card aisle to find the best card that describes your relationship with your father.  There are the cute ones from the kids or the semi-crude ones about passing gas or passing a beer.  There are the sweet cards with little monsters and their dads and there are the endearing cards that make you tear up.  The underlying theme of all of these cards though is that there is a father actual present in your life.   

Row after row of cards to show your love and appreciation to the "dad who has always been there."  Cards for "the best DADDY ever."  Cards for "Toad-ally awesome dads."  There are even cards for your uncle, your brother, your "Bro," and for that special someone that has taken on the role of dad.

Where are the cards for the "missing father" in your life?  Where are the cards for "the man who sometimes sends you cards on your birthday and even though you are over 30 it hurts when you don't get anything in the mail?"  Where are the cards for "I really want my kids to know that they have another grandpa out there in the world instead of them saying, 'I didn't think you had a dad'"?  Where are the cards that simply just say, "Happy Father's Day"?  Nothing else, no cute pictures, no endearing quote about a relationship between a father and child, just three words. 

Come on card companies.  If you are going to make a Father's Day card for single moms surely you can make cards for the father that just wasn't there.  For the father that missed out on the thousands of small memories and moments of your life.

Friday, February 6, 2015

No7 Protect & Perfect Serum from Influenster

I received the No7 Protect & Perfect Serum complimentary through Influesnter for testing purposes.  What are my thoughts about it?  I don't really know!  The sample they gave was tiny!  I get it, you want to get people interested so that they will actually buy your product but when the sample is so small you can't try it more than once, you don't know if you really need to but it because you can't see an immediate result. 

This was NOT the size of the sample...just a stock photo I found.

So, will I buy it?  Eh, we'll see.  When I am out of my current product I may consider trying it out.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Celestial Seasonings

Thanks to Influenster I have been introduced to some great products over the year.  I've tried new products, tried and true products, and everything in between.  This time around I had the chance to taste Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea.  I was given this complimentary through the Influenster program. 

Let me start out with the fact that I am not typically a tea drinker.  Give me hot chocolate or give me death.  I did go ahead and try it but it just wasn't my cup of tea (get it?...hehe).  The peppermint smell was great, perfect for the holidays, but the green tea just didn't do it for me.  I felt like it lacked something in the flavor profile.

I didn't doctor up the tea itself but I did enjoy it with some Christmas cookies! 

I'll probably stick with my  hot chocolate next time around.